What Do Vet Tech Programs Teach?
A career in healthcare as a Veterinary Technician may be the perfect alternative for a professional who wants to work with animals, but does not want to spend the required 7 to 9 years in school to become a Veterinarian. Rather, becoming a Vet Tech merely involves completing a 2-year educational program or obtaining an Associate’s Degree in veterinary medicine / technology. During these Vet Tech programs, future Veterinary Technicians can expect to learn a lot about animal care and preventionary healthcare, as well as how a veterinary clinic or practice operates.
“I went to Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, PA,” Jacey Gish, a Certified Veterinary Technician at Pet Emergency Treatment Services in Lancaster, Pa., said. “I earned my Associate’s Degree in Veterinary Technology through four semesters of classroom work, followed by 6 months of practicum at the University of Pennsylvania. Through the program I learned about how animal’s bodys work, medications, disease processes, how the veterinary clinic runs and more.”
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For a better idea of what type of courses Vet Tech programs involve, here are some components of the curriculum:
- Basic Animal Care
This topic is designed to teach students what they need to know in order to properly care for others’ pets and animals. Basic animal care information will include best practices to ensure successful veterinary visits, and all necessary safety precautions. Furthermore, a course in basic animal care may explain actions like how to properly trim an animal’s nails, the best ways to administer medications and what are ideal methods to check an animal’s vitals.
- Animal Diseases / Pathology
An animal disease / pathology course is designed to provide students with a foundation for further learning about the health issues impacting animals. The goal is also to teach how to systematically investigate and determine which, if any, diseases an animal may have contracted or developed. Lastly, animal disease / pathology classes instruct veterinary students on how to conduct examinations of an animal tissue and body fluids and to collect all necessary samples.
Programs provide instruction on veterinary pharmacology so learners begin to understand the uses, effects and modes of action of animal medication. As healthcare and medication are constantly improving, knowing which medications tend to work best, and under which circumstances, are crucial. Furthermore, these classes help identify what common animal medications are comprised of, as well as explaining which medications should not be mixed.
- Anatomy and Physiology
To efficiently treat the healthcare needs of animals, Vet Techs must be able to understand the different animal body parts and how they operate. Understanding these concepts allows students to be able to make more accurate and informed decisions, especially in emergency situations. The laboratory section associated with anatomy and physiology courses provides students with additional experience that will later have great value in real-world scenarios.
“I found the entire Vet Tech program to be interesting, and there was a lot of information I needed to learn and understand,” Gish said.
Other courses within a Veterinary Technician degree program may include:
- Dentistry techniques
- Diagnostic and therapeutic techniques
- Dietary needs
- Emergency procedures
- Exotic animal medicine and nursing
- Laboratory animal science
- Small/large animal nursing
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